See Larry Sanger’s interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson:

A co-founder of Wikipedia is calling for people to stop using social media July 4 and 5 in protest of the tech giants’ censorship and breaches of privacy.

Larry Sanger, in a Declaration of Digital Independence petition gathering signatures online, told WND on Tuesday his ultimate aim is “to replace these empires with decentralized networks of independent individuals.”

Larry Sanger (larrysanger.org)

Larry Sanger (larrysanger.org)

“If we had a really big turnout on July 4th and 5th expressing their displeasure – say tens of millions of people – that could create a sea change,” he said.

“No one would be able to ignore that something really important had been stated.”

In his petition, Sanger condemns the “proprietary, centralized architecture of the Internet,” arguing it’s “become abundantly clear more recently that a callous, secretive, controlling, and exploitative animus guides the centralized networks of the Internet and the corporations behind them.”

Sanger left Wikipedia in 2002 and now serves as chief information officer for a competitor, Everipedia.

Market-driven solution

He told WND he favors a market-driven approach to solving the problem of privacy and censorship rather than Europe’s “top-down” approach in which the government takes on the role of censor and guardian of privacy.

“As a civil libertarian that bothers me a lot,” he said, noting government “can be bought by big corporations.”

The Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission are considering antitrust action against the tech giants.

But Sanger said the problem can be addressed by social-media platforms agreeing to adopt common or universal standards that all must follow if they want to be competitive.

“It isn’t a new vision of the internet, it’s the old vision, until about 2005,” he said.

Sanger pointed out that RSS and DNS are examples of common standards already in place. RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, enables users and applications to have updates to websites delivered directly. DNS, the Domain Name System, enables web browsers to find websites and facilitates the sending and receiving of email.

In a blog post about his strike, he explains the aim of making social media “interoperable,” with posts to one platform appearing on another.

He noted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “is agitating for top-down government regulation” and has been happy to work with world leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Sanger explained that if social media networks agreed to common standards, empowering alternative platforms, Facebook would still be able to comb any data that users “choose to reveal to the world.”

But the onus for privacy “would be on us individually,” he said.

“We wouldn’t be able to blame Zuckerberg. He wouldn’t have special legal rights,” Sanger said. “There would be a common pool of data, and the rest would be encrypted.

“I’m not trying to solve all of the problems. I’m just trying to solve the problem of social media selling the media that they collect,” he said.

A tech visionary who wrote the blueprint for the Reagan economic revolution and predicted the invention of the smartphone also opposes the U.S. government’s move to build an antitrust case against the tech giants, favoring market-based solutions.

George Gilder, the author of “Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy,” argued in an interview with WND that the “powers of government can be devastating” and contended antitrust action isn’t necessary, because the monopoly power of Google and others has peaked.

‘A couple of guys and a bunch of volunteers’

WND asked Sanger to respond to a Gizmodo article about his social-media strike that challenged his promotion of market solutions.

Gizmodo said: “There’s something naive and almost sweet in presuming market competition and ingenuity is enough to topple the Facebooks of the world — especially with the express parameter of not monetizing user data, essentially taking on one of the toughest industries with both hands tied.”

Sanger called the charge “absurd.”

“Ingenuity and market competition – that is essentially the history of technology and business innovation for the past 100 years.”

He pointed out that Wikipedia “was started by a couple of guys and a bunch of volunteers who knocked Microsoft Encarta out of business.”

“The internet itself is a perfect example of how decentralization led to massive changes in the way society operation,” he said. “Why not think it can’t happen again?”

Sanger said there is nothing stopping “a whole flood of people” moving to social-media platforms such as Mastodon or Minds that use “a new open source and decentralized ecosystem of social media.”

“I don’t care how much money and market dominance Facebook has,” he said, “there are advantages that a freer and more private system has that Facebook cannot possibly match.”

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